Baltimore Orioles Should Seriously Consider RHP Chance Adams
Should the Baltimore Orioles look into acquiring recently DFA’d pitcher Chance Adams? Why not?
If the Baltimore Orioles are going to scour the waiver wire and bargain bin for starting pitching help this winter, they should go ahead and take a flyer on RHP Chance Adams, a 25-year-old former top prospect who was designated for assignment on Wednesday by the New York Yankees to make room for prized free agent signing, Gerrit Cole.
The Orioles are still in search of pitching help, even after selecting two pitchers in the Rule 5 draft in RHP Brandon Bailey (from Houston) and RHP Michael Rucker (from Chicago), and that “help” is sure to come via this route.
Standing at 6’1″ and 215 pounds, Adams has been highly effective while working his way through the Yankees farm system, including a combined 28-6 record and 2.40 ERA in High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A in 2016 and 2017. That includes an impressive debut in Triple-A where Adams went 11-5 with a 2.89 ERA, a 0.70/HR/9 IP rate in 21 starts (115 IP). Opponents never hit above .194 at any of those stops along the way.
Only John Sickels, formerly of MinorLeagueBall.com and now with The Athletic, placed Adams on his Top 100 prospect list, until his dominant 2017 campaign in Triple-A. Soon after, both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus had Adams within the top 56 (as high as 37 overall) and many reports pegged him as a major league ready arm, prepared to take on the bright stage of Yankee Stadium.
Unfortunately, Adams underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow, lost a considerable amount of velocity on his fastball, and has spent the last two seasons struggling in both Triple-A and in the big leagues with the Yankees.
In 16 MLB appearances (one start), Adams is 1-2 with a 8.18 ERA (7.05 FIP, 5.77 xFIP), a 17% strikeout rate, a 9.5% walk rate, and a .351 average against. Home runs have also plagued Adams and his major innings, giving up 10 in 33 innings. Not the most promising numbers, but find me an Orioles pitcher not named Hunter Harvey or John Means who had numbers worth looking at?
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While the 40-man roster is full, it won’t be hard to find names to remove to make room for Adams, if the Orioles want to take a Chance (I almost made it through the full piece without dropping that in! Feel free to walk away now). Plus, he has an option remaining so he could be stashed in Triple-A for a bit and ride the Baltimore-Norfolk shuttle, as needed.
With a fastball spin rate that ranks in the 87th percentile and a curveball spin rate that ranks in the 94th percentile, there’s something to work with, despite the drop in fastball velocity. We saw the success Dylan Bundy started to have when he stopped relying on his declining and fastball near the end of the 2019 season. Is there a path to success for Adams that new Director of Pitching Chris Holt and others in the organization can unlock? Possibly.
Adams also has experience in the bullpen, working mainly in late-innings throughout college at Dallas Baptist. He’s still just 25, so it hasn’t reached the point of completely writing him off. Again, what other options do the Baltimore Orioles have? As long as the Orioles don’t have to make a trade for him and can claim him off waivers next week, I’d like to see them make the move and see what happens.
What’s the worst that could happen? He fails and spends the year with the Norfolk Tides? I have a feeling that will be the case for a few guys already on the roster anyway.